Thompson Vs. MP40 Shootout

The American Thompson SMG and the German MP40 went against one another on both the Western and Eastern Fronts in World War II. The United States used the Thompson as its standard SMG for the bulk of the conflict, while the Red Army made use of several that they had acquired under lend-Lease.

The Germans were equipped primarily with the venerable 9mm MP40 SMG which lacked the Thompson’s select-fire capability, but was lighter, cheaper to produce, and had a higher capacity.

So which of these two SMGs is truly the better gun? Well, Alex and Patrick hit the range to try and find out!

Do you like this new format? Are you interested in more Shootout videos? If so, let us know what shootout videos you would like to see.

Thanks to our TFBTV Sponsors Ventura Munitions andΒ Grizzly Targets.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Mike Smith

    With all due respect to the beautifully made Thompson, I’d pick the MP-40 if given a choice. Even with its rickety underfolding stock and PITA single position feed magazine, I love the buttery smooth recoil impulse and slow rate of fire of the MP-40.

    • Scott Tuttle

      and I know which one I’d want if I was a soldier hoofing it all day.

      • Garand πŸ˜‰

      • Don’t get me wrong. I love the sewing-machine-precision-feel of all the moving parts in the Thompson (a rarity in open bolt subguns), but I am definitely more of a 550-600 RPM kinda guy! Especially if I’m buying the ammo!

  • Darkpr0

    At this point of comparison it almost turns into a contest of who is firing it. The Thomson is bigger, heavier, and more powerful (whether that translates into more effective is best solved by drawing an answer out of a hat rather than internet discussion I suspect). If you have a bigger, stronger guy who can deal with the additional weight and power, the Thompson might be the way to go. For smaller, or less-practiced shooters the MP probably just fits them better.

    I would be really interested to see how the M2, M3, and the PPSh-41 fit into this.

    Edit: <3 Grease Gun

    • UnrepentantLib

      Ditto. How about trying all the main WWII smg’s.

    • jcitizen

      I knew an Air Force top hat that begged his South Vietnamese armory for a Thompson because of the human wave attacks their base was taking. He said Charley liked to tape up their legs and arms with duct tape so they would stay together long enough to throw that satchel charge. When he got his Thompson, he said they would do full flips in the air when hit with a full burst! I think he was issued the drums as well. Nothing like anecdotal evidence! HA!

  • michael franklin

    I have a feeling that full mag dumps was not the way they were intended to be used.

    • No, but they can certainly help demonstrate controllability.

      • Tom

        And I am sure Alex you did it just for the science I can not imagine for a second that a mag dump from ether of these is anything like fun πŸ™‚

        • I have the damndest time doing mag dumps. My finger keeps letting up at 2-3 round bursts, just out of well drilled habit.

      • Paul White

        Or for maximum giggle factor. I wonder which was more important πŸ˜‰

      • Hyok Kim

        Yes, and No. That extra weight at the top certainly help in taming the muzzle rise, but also that extra weight is placed vertically and as result it increases the center of the gravity of the gun, resulting in unstable firing platform if shooting in sustained mode in one direction is the objective.

        On the other hand, if one were to use the sustained fire mode as a ‘sweep’ that extra vertical weight could actually one to control the subgun in turning in one direction another, kind of like mid engine sports car (though a very tall mid engine car).

  • Blake

    Given the choice, I’ll take…

    …a Suomi M/31

    But with over over 6 million copies produced, the PPSh-41 was undoubtedly the most prolific WWII subgun (or “The Great Patriotic War” as it is called in Russia), & proved the combat role of the SMG beyond any doubt.

    But the way the Finns used their subguns (along with plenty of other tactics, which some would coin as the invention of “guerilla warfare”) against the Soviets in the Winter War remains one of my favorite moments in military history, and in terms of of the numbers stacked against the defender, qualifies as one of the greatest military victories in the entire history of warfare.

    • I would take an Owen SMG and tip my fedora to you sir.

      • Blake

        Have you ever fired the wierd & wonderful Australian F1? It was the Owen’s successor & is apparently the jungle fighter’s best friend.

        • Tassiebush

          I spoke to a fellow who was issued one. If I recall correctly he said it didn’t have an extractor. It was just a fixed firing pin open bolt type of gun. Ejection just being from the case hitting an ejector (or was that a built in magazine based ejector?). Clearing a stoppage was just a case of taking out mag. Pulling bolt back and I think slapping and shaking it or tapping it butt down on the ground. Great thing about those top mounted mags and open bottoms combined with such simple bolts and blowback operation is that there was so little to go wrong with them. The guy also showed me a point shooting method where you place the butt against your belly which he’d been trained to do. This was while I was playing around slamfiring a pumpaction .22lr.

          • gunsandrockets

            F1 vs Sterling would be an interesting contest.

          • Tassiebush

            Yes it sure would be! F1 is so obscure I wonder if many/any working ones survive now? I think the F1 used the Sterling magazine.

      • I would take a Solothurn and activate my automatically greeting mechanomagical top hat at you, sire.

        • Blake

          Nice piece. Never knew about 9x25mm Mauser; seems it’s pretty much the ballistic equivalent of 38 Super, a quarter-century earlier.

          Mkay, my poor wallet says enough subgun chat for now πŸ™‚

      • Tassiebush

        Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie! Oi oi oi!

        • Lol! Tassiebush, you should check out my article on the Owen. I went to the Canberra war museum and took tons of great photos. If you ever find yourself in the capital, you must go there. Incredible memorial to Australian servicemen and women.
          On a crazy note, when I was there a high ranking military officer from somewhere in the commonwealth was there and had a full security detail. He was surrounded by badass looking dudes all carrying mysterious briefcases. I bet the contents contained some fantastic toys πŸ™‚

          • Tassiebush

            I’ll look it up. I’ve been there as a teen and loved it but am way overdue for another visit with my own kids. My biggest impression as a teen was from the trench raiding clubs. Agreed It’s a fantastic memorial.
            That must’ve been an interesting sight seeing such a gentleman.

      • Hyok Kim

        I agree Owen may have been the most reliable subgun of the war, but when the overall shootability was concerned?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FNAB-43

    • Wolfgar

      You do know the Finns did loose the war? They fought very well and bravely but the might of the Soviet army over whelmed them. The struggle the Russians had with tiny Finland encouraged Hitler to invade the Soviet Union when he did.

    • gunsandrockets

      I had a chance to fire a Suomi and a Thompson at a Las Vegas rental range. Very enlightening.

      The odd thing is, I found the Thompson more controllable and more accurate. Part of the problem is the high cyclic rate of the Suomi, another part of the problem is there really isn’t a very good place to hold the Suomi with your left hand.

  • Blake

    cool vid

    but the wind noise suppression on your camera is really making the audio inconsistent.

    Maybe you should consider lavalier mics next time, or at least a big foam windscreen on your video camera mic…

  • Wolfgar

    Great video! MP 40 all the way. How about a comparison of the original Ingram 9mm MAC 10 or M10 for the purist vs the mini Uzi. Keep the videos coming:)

    • We can do that!

    • st4

      I approve of that test. Oh man, how many people confused the Ingram with the Mini Uzi pre-internet, we will never know for sure.

    • jcitizen

      I’d take the mini-uzi, despite the fact that I’ve fired over 1000 rnds out of an old suppressed MAC, and found it very controllable. I sold my full auto M1928 Thompson because it was just too heavy. Probably like a lot of people, I’m awe struck at the 50 and 100 round drum; but quite frankly it is more of a Naval standoff weapon than anything. They should be issuing Thomsons with drums to fight piracy to this day!

  • ghost

    Sticking with a choice between the two firearms, I’ll take the Thompson. Both are deadly, of course.

  • mosinman

    i’d say the Thompson is better, even though the MP-40 has plenty of good qualities.
    imo the Thompson’s biggest flaw was the time it took to build, which isn’t much of a problem for 1940’s American industry. i wonder if you have access to the PPSh-41 that’d be a cool SMG to shoot and see how it stacks up. the PPsH would probably be my pick for combat

    • GearHeadTony

      PPSh vs. Sten!

      • iksnilol

        That’s like comparing a Ferrari to a bicycle.

        • Now, if you have good mags, a Sten is just fine, and a lot cheaper to make. πŸ˜‰

          • iksnilol

            Eh, fine, but everything else is better. Haven’t shot the Sten but have handled it. Don’t get me wrong, it is a fantastic weapon for its purpose (cheap insurgency weapon that uses enemy ammo and mags and can also be easily made) but comparing it other stuff it falls short. I mean, compare it to an MP5, the most common SMG you’ll find.

          • 1. The comparison isn’t between 1960s tech – we’re comparing WWII era guns (and the Thompson is actually from a generation earlier).

            2. I’d be willing to bet that the most common post-war SMG is the Uzi. Even the German Army preferred it to the MP5. It’s cheaper, more reliable, sturdier, and easier to maintain (RAM-D: Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Durability).

            3. MP5s are fine if you have good logistics support and an armored section with all the specialty tools and HK specific training.

            4. If we’re going to compare guns from outside the WWII era, the MP5 falls flat against a 14.5″ M16 variant, like Colt has been selling since the late 1960s. Price, RAM-D, accuracy, range, terminal effect. πŸ˜‰

          • iksnilol

            If I am betting my life on it then I don’t care whether it is made in the 1860’s or the 1960’s. That’s why it is IMO a fair comparison (at least for me).

            Uzi, yeah, it is common. Though it is less common in Europe than the MP5. Consider the lack of legal sources for a person like me. So it is usually stuff that was stolen, misplaced or scheduled for destruction that gets out (and MP5s there’s a good deal due to how common they are with police and millitary).

            MP5 isn’t hard to maintain. Rollers have to be changed around the time you change the barrel (that’s at least the recommendations I have heard).

            Doesn’t really fall flat against an M4. It is smaller, cheaper, quieter/easier to suppress and draws less attention + the ammo is easier to get. Again, consider illegal channels. Also, that M4 falls flat against a shortbarreled AK (20-25 cm barrel) and a folding stock.

          • Depends where you are. Uzis are more common, worldwide, than MP5s, with everyone *except* police tactical teams – who are moving towards rifle caliber carbine, such as the M4.

            More reliable, too, according to reports from trusted people who see lots of SMGs run lots of rounds through.

            As for maintainability, you ever changed the barrel on an MP5?

            As for how common they are Inc criminal markets, I cannot say.

            Back to the comparison, when someone is comparing an Enfield P1853 to an 1861 Springfield, answering, “I like the Garand!” isn’t a positive contribution. πŸ˜‰

          • iksnilol

            I haven’t changed the barrel on an MP5. I don’t know anybody who has (bear in mind they used them nonstop for 4 years of daily warfare). Unless you shoot a thousand rounds a month or something it isn’t really an issue.

            Uzis might have a higher production but MP5s are more widespread.

          • Hyok Kim

            When it comes to easy maintenance, MP5 is a ferrari.

          • iksnilol

            I don’t have personal experience but I disagree with that. If a weapon can get a good rep for reliability in the Balkan Wars then it must be easy to maintain/survive on no maintenance.

            I should really look into getting an MP5.

          • Hyok Kim

            “More reliable, too, according to reports from trusted people who see lots of SMGs run lots of rounds through.”

            Nope, according to the owner of a full auto subgun range, MP5 was more reliable.

          • Zebra Dun

            They both fall flat against the Swedish K.

          • iksnilol

            Eh, I will disagree with you there. The Swedish K is just run of the mill open bolt SMG. Not bad but nothing special.

          • Hyok Kim

            K had a quick change barrel, certainly not run of the mill open bolt SMG.

          • iksnilol

            That’s the first time I hear a mention of something like that. How does that work?

          • Hyok Kim

            Agreed when it comes to maintenance with MP5, and with shootablity with regard to UZI.

          • Hyok Kim

            “Even the German Army preferred it to the MP5. It’s cheaper, more reliable, sturdier, and easier to maintain (RAM-D: Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Durability).”

            Nope, the rank and file soldiers actually preferred MP38/40. It was a part of German reparation deal.

            As for shootabiIty, it’s not even in the same league with MP5, and as for economic manufacturing, and easy maintenance, there are several 2nd Gen subguns that are better than UZI.

          • Reading comprehension.

            I was making a comparison of the Uzi against *one* other gun. Not comparing the Uzi to all guns ever made.

            Nor was I saying German privates and junior NCOs (that being what “rank and file” really means) preferred it – I said the German ArmyArmy preferred it. The MP40 is, in many ways, “cooler” than the Uzi.

            As for being part of a reparations package explaining why they chose it, hmmm, why didn’t they end up with the rifle they really wanted – the FAL. Would have been a much larger acquisition. Oh, that’s right – the very same people who sold the Uzi to them (FN, who had the international sales) wouldn’t work out an acceptable deal. Nor did they manage to make the Germans buy the GP35 (which the German Army already had extensive positive experience with) or MAG58. Even though FN was offering a “turnkey” weapons set of FAL, GP35, MAG58, and Uzi to nations, where they’d even crunch the numbers for you – you tell then your basic force structure and size, and they’d spit out a “set” of how many guns, spares, magazines, etc., to completely outfit your army. That turnkey weapons set is a major reason why FN dominated the Western arms market for years.

            Look, I prefer shooting the MP40 to the Uzi myself (and I prefer the Beretta 38 to either, and the Sterling to almost anything) but I know which of the two I’d be buying if I was buying them for an army.

          • Zebra Dun

            It’s the low cost of the Sten that made it so well received by the government.
            The troops thought a plumber had been drafted to make guns.

          • iksnilol

            I aknowledged that part. It is like a more successfull (and useful) version of the FP-45 Liberator. A good insurgency weapon.

        • Zebra Dun

          Road Bicycle to Mountain bicycle LOL

      • Hyok Kim

        No, PPS vs. Owen. PPS was the more reliable and less expensive version of PPSh, and Owen was a way more reliable than Sten.

    • Hyok Kim

      Thompson had better material/workmanship, and more reliable, but it wasn’t the most reliable. PPSh-41 was the most reliable subguns of the war according to the test done by one of the mags. (They didn’t test PPS, Suomi, Owen, and other estoric Italian subguns)

      Actually PPS, and Owen were the most reliable and the best bang for the buck subgun of the war.

      The best subgun of the war regardless of the cost) were Suomi and some of the estoric Italian subguns.

  • Vitor Roma

    Alex, you are quite smooth with the MP, you two were made for each other.

  • hikerguy

    Thanks Alex and Patrick for informative and just plain fun videos. I will give a nod to the MP 40 for pretty much the same reasons as the others: lighter weight, lower rate of fire, and better controllability. The folding stock would be a factor due to getting in and out of vehicles as well as CQB situations.

  • stostruppen

    you should be so honored as to be able to don that helmet, hobbit

    • Dan

      I’d be honored to take a dump in and all over it after eating taco bell.

      • stostrup

        Figures- you he.#bs are into that playing with your own s##t kind of thing

        • Dan

          You mad bro? Your side lost time to move on.

          • stostrup

            Hasbara trolls like you never sleep. Besides- the fight against Der Ewige Ju#e never stops

          • He mad cuz his Panther’s transmission caught fire. πŸ™‚

    • schizuki

      You have to admit, the Nazis were oddly tolerant (for them) about letting homosexuals serve in their armed forces. You look at those documentaries from the ’30s with all of the athletics and naked bathing and whatnot in the civilian training programs that fed the Waffen-SS, it was like a decade-long gay Aryan bacchanal.

      It’s curious given the whole pink triangle/concentration-camp thing, but I have to believe the persecuted gays were the ones who tried to blackmail the upper Nazi echelon about their trysts, or maybe they were uncooperative when it came to giving it up for their squadmates behind the Panzer IV.

      Not to mention the leather trenchcoats, the riding crops and the boots. Faaaa-bulous!

      • And then there was Goering.

        • UCSPanther

          And there was Ernst Rohm as well…

      • RΓΆhm and the Night of the Long Knives, for the homoerotic win.

        RΓΆhm’s boy diddling was A-OK, until Hitler didn’t need the SA for a fist, and RΓΆhm was a threat to his power scheme.

    • Oh it’s this guy again. How many times have we banned you?

  • Paul White

    You should let me test them….for reasons.

    Seriously though, it’d come down to if they feed JHPs reliably for me. If not, definitely the .45. If they take JHPs? Gimmie the MP40

  • smartacus

    that MP40 was humming along like a Singer Sewing Machine.

    • Hyok Kim

      Not according the test done by a gun mag. MP40 was one of the most jam prone subgun they tested. It was the least reliable subgun in full auto among the major subguns they tested. The most reliable and the most accurate in full auto was PPSh.

      The most accurate in semi was Thompson.

      • smartacus

        The Suomi KP/-31 was a brilliant gun so it’s no surprise that the PPSh was good too.

        Thank God for the invention of the 7.63×25 Mauser which 7.62×25 hails from.
        Reliable bottleneck feeding and accurate .30 cal performance

  • Uniform223

    Because I’m Merican… Thompson aka The Typewriter.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Great job on the video.

  • iksnilol

    Both are well liked where I am from. I remember reading about how the Yugoslav army tested various SMGs and found the M56 (essentially an MP40 in 7.62×25 Tokarev) to be the most accurate at distance (5 round bursts at 100, 150 and 200 meters). The Sten was the worst (had 80% hit probability at 50 meters compared to 95% of all the other SMGs).

    I will see if I can find where I read that stuff.

    • UCSPanther

      I would love to see an accuracy test between the Sten and the Sterling series, mainly to see if George Patchett’s upgrades improved the accuracy as well as function…

      • iksnilol

        It’s a Sten, I seriously doubt that the Sterling wasn’t an improvement.

        • Jonathan Ferguson

          Yes. The sights alone make the Sterling far more accurate.

      • The Sterling is *far* better than a Sten, and no, it isn’t a Sten anymore than an M56 is a PPS43.

        • UCSPanther

          It would be more accurate to say that the Sten is to the Sterling what the Czech Sa. VZ 25/26 is to the Uzi…

          • How so? In all three comparisons, you’re dealing with guns have merely have the same general layout, with the designer’s of one of the pair being aware of (but not copying at all) the other gun.

            I’d say your comparison is equally on point – just not more so.

          • Hyok Kim

            When it came to workmanship and materials Uzi was no better than VZ 25/26.

          • UCSPanther

            They’re both stamped steel construction, open bolt smgs, that’s for sure.

    • gunsandrockets

      M56? an MP40 in 7.62 Tokarev? That sounds so awesome I must immediately go dig up my old Small Arms of the World and look it up!

  • DW

    Go shoot the M3A1, it’s easymode

  • IXLR8

    I would like to see how you feel after carrying one a round for a few days. You could carry much more 9mm ammo than .45ACP at the same loadout weight. I would think that the 9mm would also have better ballistics at longer ranges.
    MP40 for the win.

    I am surprised you did not have the forward grip on the Thompson. Holding it instead of the slim handguard makes it much easier to shoot IMHO.

    • I find just the opposite, and they didn’t use the forward grip on the M1A1 Thompson, because the US military generally didn’t use it, even on the M1928 and M1 Thompsons.

  • J-

    I understand the MP40 v. M1 Thompson test because they are the two most iconic sub guns of WWII. But there are many reasons it is not a fair comparison.

    The MP40 was designed in 1938 after several other sub machine guns had been designed and tested.

    The M1 Thompson was designed in 1918 and was effectively the first sub machine gun ever.

    The MP40 is mostly stamped sheet metal and a simplified design for rapid war time production.

    The M1 was a finely machined weapon designed and built in the interwar period.

    A more fair head-to-head would be the MP40 vs M3 grease gun. Two similar looking, stamped sheet metal receiver, war time production, second generation sub machine guns.

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      Not the first. The Bergmann MP.18 has that honour.

      • J-

        The Thompson and Bergman were designed independently of each other around the same time 1916-1917, as a weapon for WWI trench combat. The Bergmann was adoped first, 1918 vs 1928, because the Army Ordinance Dept thought the Thompson wasted ammo and had already spent money on the useless Pederson device.

        They love that “it wastes ammo” argument don’t they?

    • gunsandrockets

      I do think an M3 vs MP-40 test is a good idea.

    • Tom

      But this was a common WWII match up for much of the war. When the BEF got chased out of France and needed weapons it was the Thompson that they turned to whilst STEN production got up to speed. When the Americans entered the war it was the Thompson that their troops carried. Quickly it became clear to the Americans that WWII would be a war of attrition and a simpler design was needed hence the M3 which was to be replaced by the even simpler M3A1.

      • J-

        I acknowledged that this was a reasonable matchup because of their WWII status.

        But a direct head to head comparison between a first generation sub gun and a second generation sub gun shows some issues with the first generation sub gun.

        The Thompson has a large drop between the sight plane and stock – classical of late 19th century/early 20th century designs. The MP40 had a much straighter profile. This more than anything else resulted in the muzzle climb of the M1 vs the MP40 and affected controllability.

        This got corrected on the M3 and M3A1.

  • Dan Atwater

    The MP40 is clearly junk but I’ve got 100 bucks burning a hole in my pocket and I wouldn’t mind taking it off your hands for you πŸ™‚

  • Kjk

    Awesome video. Thanks for making them.

  • schizuki

    I believe I read somewhere that the Russians got their Thompsons because they were standard equipment with the Lend-Lease M3 light tanks they received. Given the shortage of SMGs in the US military at war’s start, I have to believe someone higher up the command chain in logistics later screamed, “Goddammit, you were supposed to select the ‘SMG Delete’ option!”

    • jcitizen

      HA! I would have thought the old grease gun would be a better tanker weapon. I was issued the M3 when I was in an armored division, and I was gobsmacked at the ease of controllability and the light weight of that weapon! I’d sooner have it than a Thompson in the field any day!

      • schizuki

        Grease Gun hadn’t been invented yet when these tanks were Lend-Leased.

        • jcitizen

          I imagine that is probably correct. Only after the US realized they needed manufacturing short cuts did they come in demand.

        • And, AFAIK, the SMG clips installed were specific to Thompsons.

  • schizuki

    I bet a Beretta Modello 38 would beat them both.

    • For controllability and accuracy? No lie.

      • Hyok Kim

        German elite units actually preferred Beretta over MP40.

  • Randy

    What? No Cutts Compensator? Drum mag? The Thompson was developed with much greater longevity and durability in mind. With the slower round, the barrel took less wear per shot, and with the fully accessorized model, including the compensator and forward vertical grip, it becomes a very stable platform. Besides, it’s what my dad carried in WWII! That trumps all the rest!

    • The M1A1 Thompson is almost a different animal altogether than the M1928 versions you’re thinking of. Won’t take the drum mags at all, no Blish lock, simplified stock attachment, simplified sights, no Cutts Compensator.

    • “With the slower round, the barrel took less wear per shot” Either round is very unlikely to have been a factor in barrel longevity as pistol rounds are not the same velocity as rifle rounds. No one probably every wore out the rifling to affect accuracy on either SMG. The .45 would have been a bit better in house clearing, but only by a bit. But, as was mentioned, it’s heavier bullets would let one carry less. It is the prime reason 5.56 came along. Not that this was a superior caliber for man killing, as it is NOT, but because they could carry many times the amount of bullets around than with the .308. ME? I’d take the .308 M14 and make each shot count.

  • doninla

    When you include lethality your looking at ball ammunition in 1942. So. A BIG advantage to the Thompson. Also MANY of the Tompsons had a break on the barrel.

    • Tom

      The WWII manufactured Thompson’s omitted the break as it was very costly to make and arguable of limited value.

      Not wanting to start a 9mm vs .45 flame war but I would say that in an actual combat scenario the difference in performance is not that different especially when fired in a burst.

  • petru sova

    The Thompson was a failure on many counts. I personally interviewed G.I.’s who used it in Europe during WWII and more than one said they saw Americans throw them away into ditches because they were too heave to carry.
    The gun was expensive to make and took to much manufacturing time to complete.
    The gun recoiled to much which made hits at longer range all but impossible coupled with its slow moving bullet that gave a looping trajectory and had very poor penetration as opposed to the 9×19 cartridge. In 1945 the U,S. tested a 1911 .45 acp v/s a Canadian High Power and the 9×19 penetrated a helmet at an astonishing 125 yards while the .45 acp bounced off at 35 yards.
    More ammo could be carried with the lighter and smaller 9×19 which is crucial in a sub machine gun that expends large amounts of ammo quickly.
    In conclusion the MP 40 and the 9×19 was not only the superior sub-gun and sub gun round but the 9×19 proved to be the superior pistol round as well. Only one European nation adopted the .45 acp while the rest of Europe adopted the superior 9×19 caliber.
    And last, contrary to internet chatter and the myth of the .45 acp use in the Philippian war of conquest the bigger caliber in .45acp proved to be less lethal because of insufficient penetration and less accuracy. In other words caliber does not kill and never has but bullet penetration and bullet placement is what incapacitates as proven as long ago as 1900 when men like W.D.M.Bell and women like Agenes Herbert and her cousin killed the biggest game on earth with the 6.5mm.
    The lethality of the .45acp was and still is largely nothing more than a myth which was again proven in the 1980’s when Pistolero Magazine went to Mexico to get around U.S. animal cruelty laws and shot barn yard pigs at point blank range and found the .45 acp was a total myth when compared to the 9mm, 38 special and .357 magnum. The .45 acp was not superior to any of the other calibers tested.

    • Zebra Dun

      No One thew away a Thompson.
      Even up to the Vietnam war the Thompson was highly sought after by the troops.
      Second only to the Swedish K.

      • petru sova

        The statement I made came directly from WWII Vets that I knew personally. They did indeed throw them away.

        • Zebra Dun

          My Dad, Uncles (one at Normandy) (one shot in the Bocage) all world war two vets, a couple of second cousins in the Pacific and stated they looked for a Thompson and they were never found thrown away.

          Personal? I got the family card.
          One Uncle did Tunnel rats in The 9th Inf Riverine and he personally carried a Thompson until he went inside a tunnel then he switched to the 1911A1.

          No one ever threw a Thompson submachine gun away.
          For one thing they would be defenseless and another they would be charged with the loss and destruction of government property.

          The Marines used this weapon in Central America before the WW2 they swore by them.

          You may be thinking of the Reising gun.

          • petru sova

            No I am not thinking of a Reising gun.

          • Hyok Kim

            “The Marines used this weapon in Central America before the WW2 they swore by them.”

            Those ‘Banana War’ marine didn’t exactly have much of a choice.

  • Leigh Rich

    I can not own machine guns in my state so not much of interest to me. I lot machineguns in the Army myself and had my fill.
    Historically not that many MP 40’s were produced for use in WW2. A lot more Tommys as they were in WW1 too.

    • schizuki

      There were over a million MP40s produced. And the Thompson never saw action in WWI.

      • Tom

        Also the Germans began to supplement their SMGs with the STG series which I am sure diverted resources away from the manufacture of SMGs in favor of these much improved weapons.

  • Michael Guerin

    Great test. Confirms what I had read (and heard from people trained on the Thompson). Thompson is the better option for Commando, i.e. Royal Marine raiding use but MP40 is better for all day carry and jumping in and out of vehicles. However, make mine a Beretta Modello 38 any time that I have a choice.

    • schizuki

      A man of good taste. I’ll take the Beretta as well.

    • Oh, an M38 is just an awesomely nice SMG. Love shooting them.

  • Hank Seiter

    Hate to say it, MP40. Love the .45 Thompson but I’ve shot one in full-auto and it does have a wider dispersion pattern though I love its semi-auto feature. However, no one is going to “snipe” with a semi-auto Thompson on a battlefield except under some very unique circumstances. Also, the Thompson with a full stick (I also shot it with a full drum and that combo is hellaciously heavy!) would get pretty heavy by the end of the day, but if your life is on the line …
    Good video though I would prefer to see some seasoned veterans of full-auto fire be the guinea pigs since there has to be an assumption someone carrying either of these fine battle weapons would have had some sort of extensive training on them.

    • Tom

      one of the advantages of the SMG in WWII was both the ease with which they could be made and the ease of training but I think its probable safe to assume that a lot of the troops who got issued them received pretty limited training due to the need to get bodies in the field.

  • … “while the Red Army made use…” The Russian were known as the Red Army.

    while the Red Army made use
    while the Red Army made use
    while the Red Army made use
    while the Red Army made use

  • jng1226

    Awesome video! Sgt. Rock was my hero growing up, so Thompson FTW!

    What’s the going rate on transferable M1A1’s and MP-40’s?

  • OwenOiOi

    Aussie Owen gun was on the way to the US but Japs sunk ship carrying them all.USMC was very impressed with it.Canadian army wanted Owen gun too as standard issue after testing all SMGs during WW2.

  • Zebra Dun

    Visually the MP-40 was the more controllable firearm.
    A well trained man with either would be a deadly adversary.
    For the untrained or semi trained man the MP-40 seems to be the more controllable weapon.

    Kugel Spritzen or “The Chopper”
    Hard to pick.

    • Hyok Kim

      Actually, PPSh turned out to be more controllable than MP40 or Thompson for that matter.

  • petru sova

    I would not have wanted to carry a Thompson even when it was used in WWII. Its cartridge did not shoot flat enough, it kicked too hard, its ammo was to heavy and you could carry much more 9mm ammo. The gun was uncontrollable. Its .45 acp ammo penetration was poor. This comes from me shooting it and comparing it to quite a few other period 9mm sub guns.
    My own father in WWII hated the gun. He said and I quote ” “Everyone wanted to shoot the Thompson in training but when we got to Europe and people actually started shooting at you we threw the Thompsons in the nearest ditch and got hold of an M1 Garand because you could shoot a very long way with a Garand.”
    This comes from real combat not arm chair commando internet dribble.

    • Hyok Kim

      Believe it or not, Mao’s bodyguards preferred M1 Carbines over both PPSh and Thompson.

      • petru sova

        Thanks for the reply. Historical information is always greatly appreciated. Here in the West we know little about WWII in the Far East.

        • Hyok Kim

          They preferred it mainly due to its lighter weight and longer effective range.